This article originally appeared at thebrenthurstfoundation.org. Mali’s rapid descent into instability from what seemed a promising democratic trajectory has been the cover story of African politics since a military coup there disrupted constitutional rule in early 2012. Soon thereafter, the northern half of the country fell under the control of Islamic militants. The seemingly abrupt... Continue Reading
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Mitigating radicalism, in northern Nigeria as elsewhere, requires a sustained approach targeting every stage of the radicalization spectrum.
The achievements and shortcomings of peacekeeping operations offer vital lessons for optimizing this increasingly central but still evolving tool.
DDR nitiatives are often under-prioritized and -conceptualized, contributing to the high rates of conflict relapse observed in Africa.
The rise in Islamic militancy in the Sahel, northern Nigeria, and the Horn of Africa has elevated attention to this evolving security concern. Hopes that Africa’s historically moderate interpretations of Islam would suffice to filter extremist views from gaining meaningful traction seem increasingly misplaced. More generally, understanding of this unconventional security challenge is often based more on speculation than informed assessment. Responses must avoid conflating distinct Islamist actors while addressing local level perceptions of disaffection and under-representation that underpin support for militants.
Airlift assets provide vital capabilities and multiply the effectiveness of Africa’s resource-limited militaries and collective peace operations.
Despite numerous peace agreements, Africa’s Great Lakes region has been in a persistent state of conflict for the past two decades. The contributions and shortcomings of some of the most significant previous peace initiatives, however, offer vital lessons as to how to mitigate the local level tensions, national political dynamics, and competing regional interests that have led to recurring outbreaks of violence.
Support for Boko Haram among some of northern Nigeria’s marginalized Muslim communities suggests that security actions alone will be insufficient to quell the instability.
Legacies of Côte d’Ivoire’s national identity crisis left this strategic West African country vulnerable to further instability.
Despite growing security concerns across the Sahel and Maghreb, regional security cooperation to address these transnational threats remains fragmented. Algeria is well-positioned to play a central role in defining this cooperation, but must first reconcile the complex domestic, regional, and international considerations that shape its decision-making.
Institutionalization of democratic norms in Africa’s militaries often lags behind advances made in civilian institutions and civil society.